I have decided. Whenever anyone drives on my half of the road, there are two things I will do. One, I will stay my course and block their path. And two, once we are at a standstill, I will laugh at them. I will shame them into knowing that they are in the wrong.
Sounds childlike? It is. Dangerous? Actually, in Delhi, for a woman driver – extremely dangerous. This is a city where people have been shot because their car door accidentally touched another’s precious car.
But I refuse to be pushed into doing what is wrong by others who are oafs who neither understand the need for rules, nor have the brains to figure out efficient configurations for the greater good.
Witness this: A bottle neck on the road. Caused by an overturned truck, tree trunk or just a massive pothole filled with water or a tiny branch with a red rag stuck on it.. whatever. Medium to high traffic. Of course, everybody wants to get through the gap first, so – we are all trapped there.
Another one, fairly typical. A crossroads where the traffic lights have stopped functioning. Everybody crowds through, only to meet in the middle in a traffic snarl.
The ultimate triumph of local optimisation, of the ‘me first’ attitude over global optimisation.
Brawn over brain is amply demonstrated at every roundabout. Vehicles dash in to join the circular traffic without letting the ones in there out first. Well, if you don’t let them get out first – where is the room for you to get in?
I can deal with morons. I can deal with bad driving – it is just another level on a video game after all. But what totally gets to me is the fact that I am forced to break all norms of good driving – and possibly laws (though I would not do that unless it saves lives on the road).
So, hog the right lane in second gear, so that I have to overtake from the left (which is wrong in India – in theory). Cut right in front of me, so I have to swerve in front of another vehicle. Totally ignore the lane markings so that the rest of us have to straddle lanes too. And best of all, dive straight in from the left lane to turn right, ensuring I scrape the kerb to avoid hitting you. No, one better: drive right in the middle of the road so that oncoming traffic either mows you down or swings wildly to avoid you.
We are all Rajnikant on the road. Performing wild incredible acts with panache. And we survive to tell the tale.